September in Colorado is one of the best months to make a visit. The days are still warm, the nights are starting to cool down and best of all, the leaves are changing. Vail Resorts will close for summer operations on September 27th, that does not mean the fun should stop. Here are a few alternatives to get outside and catch a glimpse of the golden aspens.
Jeep Tours are a great socially distant way to see a large portion of the valley with little to no effort. There are 3 companies in the area that offer tours with experienced guides; Timberline Tours, Lakota Guides and Nova Guides.
Jeep tours begin at your hotel or rental home and will be tailored to your groups preferences. If you prefer advanced 4x4 off-roading, there is a trail or that, or maybe you are looking for a scenic drive on some well maintained dirt roads, they can do that too. With the aspens nearing their peak colors in the coming weeks, now is a great time to book.
Things to keep in mind: Colorado weather can change in an instant so pack accordingly. Closed toe shoes, hats and jackets are a necessity. September is usually pretty predictable but this is when we get our first dustings of snow, prepare for a possible temperature drop.
Tours can last anywhere from 4 - 6 hours and prices will vary based on which company you choose and the tour you are taking.
While the mountain is still open, a hike up the mountain can be very rewarding if the leaves have started to make their change. Berry Picker, Cabin Trail or Strawberry Lane all begin from the base and weave their way to the tops of each gondola. Keep in mind that once the mountain has closed for summer operations you will need to hike down as well. This makes these hikes roughly 4 - 6 miles round trip.
Any of the East Vail Hikes will pass through patches of aspens as well. Deluge, Pitkin and Bighorn are some of the more difficult options. Hikes can last all day and are strenuous. Booth Falls and Gore Creek are more moderate but still beautiful hikes. Booth falls is the most popular trail in Vail, go early and beat the crowds.
Take a Drive
There is no shortage of scenic driving in Colorado, especially during the fall season.
Boreas Pass, located outside of Breckenridge, is a dirt road connecting to the town of Como. This is a full day drive but worth every second. The pass itself is all dirt but well maintained and lined with aspens for a good portion of the drive.
Independence Pass to Aspen should be at the top of everyones fall lists. Make a round trip loop through Leadville to Aspen then onto Glenwood Springs and back to Vail. This route is around 4 hours without stopping so plan for a full day.
Enjoy the end of summer!